Parents hit out at testing system in 12-year compulsory education
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-16 03:21 PM
Taipei City mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je's daughter was the recipient of an award in the annual Mayor’s Awards for junior high school students Sunday. Ko’s wife Chen Pei-chi was on hand to see their daughter receive an award, and like her outspoken husband she had a few words for the Ministry of Education.

Chen criticized the 12-year compulsory education system launched this year, saying that a less-than-stellar score on the essay part of the entrance examination for high schools kept their daughter out of prestigious Taipei First Girls High School. She said the ministry put the new system into effect knowing that it was rife with flaws, an action she compared to taking off in an airplane that everyone knew was fated to crash. She said that it is too late to save this year’s batch of students from the shortcomings of the newly-implemented system but added that she hopes it can be cleaned up in time to help the next group of students testing for high schools later this year.

One student picking up an award availed of the opportunity to pass a letter addressed to Premier Jiang Yi-huah into the hands of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin. The student pleaded with the premier to “save our group of white mice." Hau told the students that he understood their predicament and would do his best to help them. The student later expressed confidence that the mayor would make good on his pledge to help future examinees as well as this year’s group of students.

The student said he had given a similar letter to Ma Ying-jeou’s wife Christine Chow last year expressing his reservations over the changes in the testing methods for entering high school and urging the Ministry of Education to put off implementing the 12-year compulsory education system. He said he received an official response from the ministry but no action was ever taken to solve the problem.

Outside the event a number of parents were protesting the new 12-year system. They emphasized five demands for changes in the testing contents and options for students.

Ping Ching-huang, Deputy Director of the Taipei City Department of Education, said the department would forward the parents’ demands to the Ministry of Education and they should receive a response by June 20. He added that the publicity and explanatory pamphlets for this year's examinations have already been printed and cannot easily be changed.

The Keelung-Taipei area had originally planned to integrate testing methods offered by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for the first time this year. Faced with strenuous objections to the move, it was withdrawn and Department of Education Director Ting Ya-wen offered her resignation.

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